winter 2013

e d u c a t i o n
Exciting new changes to Memorial University’s MD program


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Two exciting developments were made this fall at Memorial University’s Faculty of Medicine. In September, the faculty launched an innovative, new undergraduate medical education program and the first-year class size was increased to 80 students.

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Two exciting developments were made this fall at Memorial University’s Faculty of Medicine. In September, the faculty launched an innovative, new undergraduate medical education program and the first-year class size was increased to 80 students from the historic baseline of 60.

“Increasing our first-year class size means that we are able to increase the number of students we traditionally accept and graduate from our MD Program,” said Dr. James Rourke, dean of medicine.

“Our class includes 60 students from Newfoundland and Labrador, an increase of 20 students from our province. This will mean more students from here, trained here and, ultimately, more doctors who will practice here. They will also have the distinction of being our first class to be taught and assessed using our new curriculum.”

Dr. Sharon Peters, vice dean, Faculty of Medicine, says the new curriculum will enable instructors to provide students with a self-directed, active and experiential learning experience for years to come.

“Over the last few years, many faculty, residents and students have been, and continue to be, involved in the planning of our new curriculum that encompasses, maps and integrates CanMEDS roles and the Medical Council of Canada objectives with new teaching, learning and assessment methods,” said Dr. Peters.

The new curriculum is a spiral curriculum model that integrates a story-based context of learning. The story-based curriculum will present learning objectives within the context of fictional patients, communities and physician encounters.

Topics related to learning objectives will be revisited over time and learning broadened throughout the educational process with each successive experience building on an earlier one that is linked back to the patients and communities. This will support the concept of a spiral curriculum to reinforce learning through continued repetition and broadening of a topic. Students will build their knowledge and understanding in a structured fashion.

The new curriculum is divided into four phases: Phase I – Health and its Promotion; Phase II – Disease Prevention and Disruptions of Health; Phase III – Diagnosis and Investigation of Illness and Disease; and, Phase IV – Integration into Clinical Practice (years 3 and 4 clinical clerkship). The curriculum for medical students who began the program in 2012 or earlier, will not change.

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